Albert Einstein once said:
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
All of us have had moments in our lives when we trusted our gut – when we relied on our own deep sense of knowing and acted on it – even if it was a bit of a risk, or went against what seemed to make sense, or against what other people thought.
And we’ve all had times where we did something against our better judgment and then found ourselves saying “I KNEW I shouldn’t have done that” or “I KNEW it wasn’t the right thing to do”.
One of the ways I help people who want more fulfilment, balance or meaning in their life is to guide them back to trusting their own intuition or gut.
Our inner sat nav
Our gut or intuition is our most important asset when it comes to navigating through all the decisions in our life, and especially when it comes to living our best life. This is because there is no objective formula or set of rules that says if you live this way, or do X and Y, then you will be happy and fulfilled.
There is only YOUR way. What is right for YOU. At this point in your life. At this crossroads. Or as the Jungian analyst James Hollis calls it in his book ‘Finding Meaning In The Second Half of Life’ – “a sense of rightness within”. This is what guides you moment by moment, decision by decision into living a life that is truly right and best for you.
Not being able to hear your gut
All of the CEOs, business founders and entrepreneurs I work with can cite moments when they trusted their gut above all else. When they backed themselves. Often at significant risk or against the odds. That’s partly why they have created the success they have.
Yet it’s not listening to their own gut or not being able to hear it, that has often caused these same people to gradually drift little by little away from or to lose touch with what really makes them happy and how they truly want to live their lives.
When you’re busy, when your mind is too full or constantly active, when you have little proper headspace, it’s much harder to hear the quieter voice of your inner knowing.
Frustrations, pressures, too many obligations and responsibilities taking up time and headspace can run interference on or even drown out this voice altogether.
So how do we connect back to our most trusted inner sat nav – our gut or intuition?
Our barking dog
Let’s go back to Einstein’s quote. Our rational mind, our left brain, our intellect – while incredibly valuable and important to us – should be the faithful servant to our inner knowing, not the master. It should be serving or following what our intuition or gut knows is the right thing to do.
In my view, there is no more faithful servant than a dog. And one of the things that gets in the way of our intuitive mind is our busy, negative or over-thinking mind chatter e.g. “You can’t do that!”, “What would people think?”, “You HAVE to go to that event – you’ve no choice” etc. This is our dog barking – making lots of noise. This constant, and often negative or self-limiting self talk, simply drowns out the voice of our intuition or at least makes it hard hear.
Overthinking. A busy mind. When your mind is full of ‘shoulds’ or ‘musts’ or ‘have tos’ or thoughts like ‘that’s not an option’ or ‘I have no choice’. These are all your inner barking dog. Making noise. Making it hard to hear our quieter, more subtle inner voice.
Training our barking dog
But the great thing is, our barking dog can be trained. It can be asked to quieten down or sit still for a while. Or it can be taken for a walk or a run or taken out into to nature or for a meditation. Whatever works to quieten your barking dog.
If you don’t know what quietens your barking dog, it’s worth thinking about when you feel most calm and at peace. Where are you? What are you doing?
THIS is how you can quieten YOUR barking dog.
For one of my clients it’s fishing. For another it’s writing poetry. For another it’s running. For another it’s going for a walk by the sea. For another it’s going home to the farm he grew up on.
For you it might be listening to music. Or driving (without the radio on – just being with your thoughts). Or taking a shower.
Name it to tame it
And the great thing is – you can “Name it to tame it”. Once you recognise that the busy, overactive or negative thoughts in your mind is your barking dog, you can tame it and control it. You can return it to being the faithful servant and not the master.
It was never meant to be the master. Mainly because your mind can lie to you and distort things and very often does.
But your gut doesn’t. Ever.
If it makes it more tangible for you, you might even like to think about what kind of dog your barking dog is i.e. when your mind is busy or full of ‘shoulds’ or ‘musts’ or ‘have tos’- what kind of dog might this be?
One man I worked with described his barking dog as a German shepherd because his barking dog wants him to be organised and structured and to plan ahead and get everything exactly right. He calls it Rufus.
Mine is a terrier – full of energy and enthusiasm and very tenacious, but sometimes doesn’t know when to stop or let go. When enough is enough. Literally a dog with a bone.
The sat nav for your best life
So if you want to be guided towards your best life, I’d suggest you start by recognising your intuition as the gift – the true guide for your life.
Know too that your rational mind was always meant to be the faithful servant of the inituitive mind and notice when your barking dog is getting in the way of hearing the important, but quieter voice of your intuition.
Then find the best ways to quieten your barking dog that work for you.
And finally, enjoy the wisdom, clarity and insight you have access to from you gut. Enjoy the gift. Your beautiful, wise ever present inner sat nav for your best life.